Land of the Brave

Intolerable Acts

Colonial America - Land of the Brave

Definition of the Intolerable Acts
The Meaning and Definition of the Intolerable Acts: The Intolerable Acts, also called the the Restraining Acts and the Coercive Acts, were a series of British Laws, passed by the Parliament of Great Britain 1774.

Four of the Intolerable Acts were specifically aimed at punishing the Massachusetts colonists for the actions taken in the incident known as the Boston Tea Party. The fifth of the Intolerable Acts series was related to Quebec was seen as an additional threat to the liberty and expansion of the colonies. 

Intolerable Acts - The Boston Tea Party
Tensions had been high in Boston and led to two famous incidents which in turn led to the Intolerable Acts:

  • The , that occurred on March 5, 1770, in which British soldiers, who were quartered in the city, fired into a rioting mob killing 5 American civilians
  • The that occurred on December 16, 1773 was a direct protest by colonists in Boston against the . Boston patriots, led by the dressed as Mohawk Indians, raided three British ships,  in Boston harbor and dumped 342 containers of tea into the water.

King George III, the British government led by Lord North, and the majority of the British people were furious when they found that the Boston colonists had made "tea with salt water." The British Parliament immediately went to work passing the Intolerable Acts to punish the colonists and stamp their authority on the American colonies. Summary of the Intolerable Acts - British Punishment

The laws, that became known as the Intolerable Acts, were all passed in 1774 as British reprisals to the Boston Tea Party. The summary of the Intolerable acts is as follows:

  • The first of the Intolerable Acts closed the port of Boston so tightly that the colonists could not bring hay from Charlestown to give to their starving horses
  • The second of the Intolerable Acts put an end to the constitution of Massachusetts - only one town meeting was permitted a year in Massachusetts, unless approved by the governor. Town officials would no longer be elected, they were to be be appointed by the royal governor. The executive council would no longer be elected, but appointed by the King. The Massachusetts Government Act revoked the colony's 1691 charter
  • The third of the Intolerable Acts gave the power for all trials in the colony to be sent to Great Britain and heard under a British judge
  • The fourth of the punishing Intolerable Acts compelled the colonists to feed and shelter the soldiers employed to punish them
  • A fifth act is also included in the Intolerable Acts of 1774 and relates to Quebec and Ohio. This 'Intolerable Act' was also passed in 1774 and, although it was not directed at punishing the colony of Massachusetts for the Boston Tea Party, it was seen as a new model for an authoritarian British colonial administration and another threat to the independence of the colonies

Dates and Names of the Intolerable Acts
The names of the Intolerable Acts and the dates they were passed were as follows:

1st Intolerable Acts - March 31, 1774:
2nd Intolerable Acts - May 20, 1774:
3rd Intolerable Acts - May 20, 1774:
4th Intolerable Acts - June 2, 1774:
5th Intolerable Acts - June 22, 1774:
Follow the above links for full details of each of the Intolerable Acts

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